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Go Solar: The new mantra

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By Ila Garg

Opting for renewable energy is fast becoming the new trend. Every other household is finally seeing the benefits of solar energy: a source of electricity that is renewable, off-the-grid, clean, distributed and most importantly, affordable.

India can be most benefited from this renewable energy as more than half of the population still lives in rural areas where the grid cannot reach. These remote areas have therefore never seen electricity. They are lurking in the darkness as the world progresses each day. Now, India can finally move out of the darkness and into light, with at least 55 cities being developed as solar cities.

Taking a step towards solarising India, on Thursday, Delhi Power Minister Satyendra Jain released a Delhi Solar Energy Policy 2015 draft. This Policy aims at generating 1,000 MW of solar power in the next five years. This will help in resolving power cut worries quite easily.

SolarPanels

At an event at the secretariat, Satyendra Jain remarked, “To promote solar energy, solar panels will be installed on the roof-tops of every government building and we’ll start with the Delhi Secretariat.”

The minister also revealed that a tender for 5MW solar power generation has been floated. “We have a target to generate 1,000 MW of solar power in the next five years and 2,000 MW by 2025,” he said.

He further added, “This solar policy will promote a rapid growth of solar power, especially from the roof-top source, via a combination of generation targets, regulations, mandate and incentives. This will also promote net-metering and grid connectivity for all solar plants.”

If all goes well, very soon, every household in Delhi will not only have access to an uninterrupted power supply but also save on the electricity bills.

Earlier, the Rajasthan government had approved of an investment of Rs. 1.56 lakh crore in the solar power sector. Sighting the benefits of solar power, the world’s first 12 MW solar power plant was inaugurated by Kerala’s chief minister at the Kochi airport. No wonder the newest metro line added to Delhi metro is NCR’s first solar equipped metro line.

Overseas, China too has already started building its largest solar plant to meet its voluptuous power needs. That’s not all. The enormous usage of this clean, green energy will leave you astonished; the first solar-powered aircraft Solar Impulse 2, made its first successful flight on 3 July, 2015.

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The initial installation cost is a little on the higher side. However, since the cost can be recovered in a span of a few years, it remains a lucrative deal. Also, the enormous benefits cannot be ignored. What makes solar power the talk of the town is the fact that it is 100% eco-friendly and can reach the areas where the grid cannot.

Does that mean we will see a solar world soon?

Next Story

Solar Power Starts Growing in Vietnam

Vietnam Goes Big on Solar Power

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Solar Power
Solar power is making a strong showing in Vietnam after years of shuttling from one extreme to the other. Pixabay

Solar power is making a strong showing in Vietnam after years of shuttling from one extreme to the other, with the nation looking sometimes like it would revert to coal, and other times like it would invest in renewable energy.

By the end of last year Vietnam had surpassed Malaysia and Thailand to reach the largest installed capacity of solar power in Southeast Asia, with 44% of the total capacity, according to figures from Wood Mackenzie, a firm that sells consulting services in the energy industry.

The figures show that Vietnam is serious about solar power, an issue that had been up for debate for years. Solar supporters were encouraged to see the government offer a high feed in tariff (FIT), a fee pioneered in Germany to let solar panel owners sell power to the grid. This helped push Vietnam to reach 5.5 gigawatts of solar capacity last year.

Vietnam is also planning to construct more power plants fed with coal, casting doubt on the goal of more clean energy. Public resistance to coal appears to have shelved some of the construction, at least for now.

Solar Power
Solar power installation near a wind turbine at the Phu Lac wind farm in southern Vietnam’s Binh Thuan province. Pixabay

“FITs have proven to be an effective policy tool to induce rapid growth in renewables, and Vietnam’s build is another example of that,” Rishab Shrestha, a solar analyst at Wood Mackenzie, said. He added that “project economics will continue to remain attractive in large parts of Vietnam.”

Like other nations, Vietnam has yet to deal with some of the potential drawbacks of solar power, such as how to dispose of photo voltaic panels responsibly. The panels contain toxic chemicals like lead and cannot be recycled easily.

However solar and other renewable power, such as from wind, remains one of the cleanest options for Vietnam at the moment. It joins a growing global trend, from California, which enacted a law this year to require all new homes come with solar panels, to India, where railways are switching to solar power.

Next, Vietnam will have to decide how much it will pay for solar power. The tariff used to be more than nine U.S. cents per kilowatt hour but that price expired in June. Investors are waiting on a decision, which is being jointly prepared by three ministries, the Office of the Government, and the state power utility, according to Duane Morris Vietnam LLC, a law firm that advises clients on solar power. As part of the process, Vietnam Electricity, the state utility, sent a letter to the trade ministry with recommendations on how to set the tariff and who would be eligible.

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“The submission letter is not very clear,” said Oliver Massmann, general director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC, in a blog post.

However he predicts that the government will settle on a tariff of just over seven U.S. cents per kilowatt hour for ground-mounted solar power projects, and a slightly higher tariff for floating solar power projects. Vietnam is pushing investors to provide power more affordably as consumption needs rise in the fast-growing economy. (VOA)